Objective: We have previously established that the gene for neutrophil cytosolic factor 2 (NCF-2) predisposes to lupus, and we have identified lupus patients with point mutations that are predicted to cause reduced NADPH oxidase activity. We undertook this study to investigate the relationship between reduced leukocyte NADPH oxidase activity and immune dysregulation associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods: We generated NCF-2-null mice, in which NADPH oxidase activity is absent, on the nonautoimmune C57BL/6 (B6) mouse background and on the NZM 2328 mouse background, a polygenic model in which mice spontaneously develop lupus. Clinical disease, serology, and immunopathology were evaluated.
Results: NCF-2-null mice on the B6 background were susceptible to Aspergillus fumigatus pneumonia characteristic of chronic granulomatous disease, but did not develop systemic lupus disease. In contrast, NCF-2-null and even NCF-2-haploinsufficient mice on the NZM 2328 background developed accelerated full-blown lupus with significantly accelerated lupus kidney disease. This was characterized by more rapid development of hyperactive B cell and T cell immune compartments, increased expression of type I interferon-responsive genes, and generation of neutrophil extracellular traps, which were observed even in the absence of NADPH oxidase activity.
Conclusion: Just as patients with chronic granulomatous disease who lack NADPH oxidase rarely develop SLE, NCF-2-null mice on a nonautoimmune background were susceptible to a chronic granulomatous disease-like opportunistic infection but did not develop lupus. In contrast, on a lupus-prone background, even haploinsufficiency of NCF-2 accelerated the development of full-blown lupus disease. This establishes an interaction between reduced oxidase activity and other lupus-predisposing genes, paralleling human SLE-associated variants predicted to have only reduced NADPH oxidase activity.
© 2017, American College of Rheumatology.